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It was smiles all round, and a few tears, for some of the state’s littlest surf lifesavers after two days of fierce competition at the 2021 NSW Championships, proudly supported by Your local club. For many, it was their first taste of competing at a major carnival with water events held at Swansea Belmont SLSC and the beach sand events at Redhead SLSC due to Covid restrictions.

After contending with very challenging conditions on day one, the surf dialled down a notch to allow the Under 9, 10 and 11 age groups to get through a full program of teams events on day two.

As expected, the dominance of Sydney clubs Newport and last year’s title winner North Curl Curl, was evident with some great racing on display.

Jocelyne Melbourn from North Curl Curl braved the big surf to win the U10 Surf Race then backed up on day two to take the U10 Surf Team medal with Grace Lawry, Emma Windsham and Evie Davis. The girls also nailed the U10 Board Relay event to stamp their mark on the age group. The U11 Female Board Rescue was another gold their way.

Sadie Maggs from Newport SLSC was always the one to watch in the U11 girls and the pocket rocket did not disappoint, taking out the U11 Ironwoman title along with gold in the Board Race.

“I have two older brothers who compete. My brother started off really liking the Iron race and he taught my whole family. We train as a really big group at Newport, catching waves almost everyday. That race was all about the sprint up the beach and not messing up on the shorey,” said Sadie.

In one of the most exciting finishes of the carnival, last year’s winners of the Board Relay from Cudgen Headland SLSC came from behind in the last leg with an incredible sprint up the beach to win the U11s, beating Newport who led for the entire race. The ecstatic trio of Isabella Arghyros, Charli Mills and Jarrah Onley said the extra work on their transitions and keeping the power on up  the beach paid off.

“We got off to an alright start and Izzy caught up and did a sprint up the beach that won it for us,” said Jarrah.

“I didn’t think I was going to catch up to the Newport girl,” said Isabella. “I just really wanted to get first again because State is a big deal and I just really wanted to do well.

“We want to thank Newport because they pushed us so hard this year,” said Charli.

Local Hunter Branch clubs were cool under pressure with the older competitors showing their experience.

Levi Gibbs from host club Swansea Belmont won the U11 Surf Race in extremely challenging conditions. The trio of Levi and twins Thomas and Mitchell Chalmers used their home-beach advantage to retain the U11 Male Board Relay title from last year.

Sidney Burns from Cooks Hill was a stand-out and won the U11 Board Race and the U11 Ironman. He was also part of the Cooks Hill U11 Male Surf Team. He narrowly claimed the Ironman title from long-time rival Thomas Chalmers from Swansea Belmont, with the pair consistently tussling over first place every time they meet.

Sid teamed up with Will Munro to win the Board Rescue event after getting second place at the Branch Championships. They said communication is the key to success in the Board Rescue.

“We almost fell off twice but we picked it up and kept going,” said Sid. “You can’t do this race without talking because otherwise you don’t know where you’re at. Basically you pick up your stroke rate so you can go faster and it’s all about talking and timing.”

Fingal Beach’s Ezekiel Hay won the U10 Beach Sprint and came second in the Beach Flags.

Gold medal winners from the Central Coast included Talia Tebb from Avoca Beach in the U10 Board Race and Billy McCarthy from Wamberal in the U10 Surf Race.

Zach Mitchell from The Lakes SLSC could barely contain his delight in winning the U10 Board Race in a highly emotional finish that came down to the wire with an all-out battle to cross the line between him and Felix Stephens from North Steyne.  After braving the big surf it was smiles all round for the boys who seemed like they’d been mates for years but only just met waiting in line for their race to be run.

“I don’t know what happened out there, it was such a mission,” said Zach. “Felix my buddy here gave me a great race. I was just, no matter what, coming down that wave I knew I had a state medal.

“The best thing is getting to make friends. It feels amazing and I’ll never forget that race. Last year going from sixth to first now, it’s awesome. This is my first medal. This is such fun conditions to race in,” said an enthused Zach.

Bate Bay clubs were well represented in the medal tally too, with Zara Zammit-Mayer from Wanda SLSC winning the U11 Surf Race. In the teams events Wanda’s U10 Male Surf Team and U11 Female Surf Team claimed gold. On the sand at Redhead, Wanda won the U11 Mixed Beach Relay and Jackson Aungle was first in the U11 1km Beach Run.

North Cronulla won the U10 Female Beach Relay. Cronulla won the U9 Male Surf Team while Zac Brown from Elouera won the U9 Surf Race.

South Maroubra caps were everywhere too with the U11 Male Beach Sprint gold and silver going to Rory Muldowney and Ashton Briffa. The team also took out the Beach Relay event while the club won both the U9 and U10 Mixed Beach Relays. State Champs first-timers also had some great results with Max Israel winning the highly-contested U9 Beach Flags and Mia Hoo won the U9 Surf Race. The club also won the pinnacle team event, the U11 Mixed Cameron Relay.

Coogee’s dominance in the beach events was on show again this year, with Richard Nestor first in the U11 Beach Flags and the U9 team winning both the Male and Female Beach Relays. Marnie Laurence was first across the line in both the U9 Beach Sprint and Beach Flags. Taylor Morgan won the U11 Female Beach Sprint.

North Bondi beachies were on fire, with the U9s winning the Male Board Relay and U10s winning the Male Beach Relay with Patrick Gisz beating all starters in the U9 Beach Sprint.

Backing up after last year’s historic first junior state title for the Bondi surf club, Krishna Dewa withstood the pressure and emerged victorious again in the U10 Beach Flags.

Manly’s focus on board skills obviously paid off with the U10 Male Board Relay and the U9 Female Board Relay teams first across the line.

Further south in the Illawarra and Zahnie Freeman from Bulli won a State title in her first outing at a NSW Championships by winning the U9 Board Race in some seriously tough surf. She didn’t lose her nerve, despite watching race after race where the entire field of competitors struggled to get out through the solid four foot waves. She returned on day two to win the U9 Surf Team race with teammates Sadie Jones, Andie Kennedy and Heidi Morris.

Ginger Siasat was super excited to better her Silver medal with Kiama Downs from last year with dual golds in the U10 Beach Flags and the Beach Sprint with her new club Gerringong.

Top 10 Pointscore – U9/10/11s

1 Wanda SLSC 104

2 North Curl Curl SLSC 98

3 South Maroubra SLSC 94

4 Coogee SLSC 85

5 North Bondi SLSC 79

6 Cooks Hill SLSC 53

7 Avoca Beach SLSC 42

8 Manly LSC 40

8 Swansea Belmont SLSC 40

9 Newport SLSC 35

10 North Cronulla SLSC 32



26 February 2021